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Fauci warns there's no 'strong' evidence anti-malaria drug works on coronavirus

Anthony FauciAnthony FauciSix notable moments from Trump and Biden's '60 Minutes' interviews Pence travel questioned after aides test positive Fauci: We'll know whether a vaccine is safe, effective by early December MORE, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, warned Friday that there isn't any "strong" evidence that an anti-malaria drug has proven effective in the coronavirus fight.

“We’ve got to be careful that we don’t make that majestic leap to assume that this is a knockout drug. We still need to do the kinds of studies that definitely prove whether any intervention is truly safe and effective," Fauci, who is also a member of the White House coronavirus task force, said during an interview on "Fox & Friends."

Fauci's comments came in response to a question about a recent poll of more than 6,700 doctors in 30 countries, with 37 percent of physicians saying they “felt” that the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine was the most effective for treating COVID-19 as cases.

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“We don’t operate on how you feel, we operate on what evidence and data is,” Fauci said, adding that it was "not a very robust study" or "overwhelmingly strong."

“But when you don’t have that information, it’s understandable why people will want to take at any slightest hint that it’s effective, and I have no problem with that," he added.

Hydroxychloroquine is primarily used to treat lupus and arthritis.

"Obviously this is a good drug for the many diseases you mentioned. What we don’t want to happen is individuals who truly need the drug with a proven indication don’t have it available," Fauci said.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpFox News president, top anchors advised to quarantine after coronavirus exposure: report Six notable moments from Trump and Biden's '60 Minutes' interviews Biden on attacks on mental fitness: Trump thought '9/11 attack was 7/11 attack' MORE previously touted hydroxychloroquine, combined with azithromycin, as a potential game changer.

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Doctors in China reported this week that hydroxychloroquine "helped to speed the recovery of a small number of patients who were mildly ill from the coronavirus," The New York Times reported.

“It’s going to send a ripple of excitement out through the treating community,” infectious disease expert William Schaffner of Vanderbilt University told the Times.

Larger clinical trials are already underway in the U.S., with some preliminary results expected in the coming days.

Updated at 12:10 p.m.